Lenovo is continuing to partner with other vendors as it looks to rapidly grow its capabilities in the data center and extend the reach of its server businesses.
Most recently, Lenovo is teaming with Nexenta, which offers an open-source software-defined storage (SDS) solution, to integrate Nexenta's technology into Lenovo's x86 servers. The strategic partnership will include not only bringing the products together, but also developing joint go-to-market strategies. The goal is to develop offerings that leverage both vendors' technologies and address the rapid growth in data that is being generated by such trends as mobile computing, big data analytics and the cloud.
"Lenovo recognizes software-defined storage as the strategic storage solution to deliver revolutionary economics for enterprise and cloud storage needs," David Lincoln, general manager of Lenovo's Storage Business Unit, said in a statement. "The solutions will give customers the freedom to scale their data to meet business needs today and tomorrow."
Lenovo became a major player in the global server market in 2014, when its $2.3 billion acquisition of IBM's System x business vaulted Lenovo into the number-three slot worldwide among server vendors, trailing only Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Dell. Since then, Lenovo officials have pursued partnerships to help expand the reach and capabilities of the server business in a range of areas, from converged computing to the cloud.
The company in 2014, after buying the IBM business, announced a partnership with virtualization technology pioneer VMware to develop software-defined data center (SDDC) offerings for cloud and enterprise environments. Lenovo also has partnered with storage giant EMC on the development of converged infrastructures, and expanded its partnership with enterprise software make SAP to develop cloud products that use SAP's HANA in-memory technology to the Chinese market.
Lenovo late last year also announced it was partnering with fast-growing Nutanix to build and sell a new line of Lenovo-branded hyperconverged appliances that will help enterprises grow their private cloud environments. Earlier this month, Lenovo and networking vendor Juniper Networks announced an alliance to build infrastructure offerings for hyperconverged and other emerging data center technologies. The partnership will take advantage of Lenovo's server business and Juniper's next-generation networking expertise to develop converged, hyperconverged and hyperscale data center offerings.
The company's partnership strategy makes sense, as Lenovo looks to quickly ramp up its capabilities in the data and get a faster return on its investment in IBM's x86 server business, Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, told eWEEK.
"Picking and choosing the companies with the best or particularly well positioned products is a more practical … approach than trying to build all these products themselves," King said.
He pointed to numbers from Gartner analysts that showed that last year, Lenovo saw a 5.9 percent increase in the number of servers it shipped, compared with decreases by both HPE (2.6 percent) and Dell (0.3 percent). Lenovo also saw server revenue grow 169.4 percent last year over 2014, while HPE's grew 5.8 percent and Dell's 7.6 percent. That said, HPE has more than three times the server revenue than Lenovo does, while Dell has more than double the revenue.
In the partnership with Nexenta, Lenovo's System x servers will be integrated with NexentaStor for file and block storage services that will scale from hundreds of terabytes to petabytes. They'll support diverse workloads, such as virtualization, backup and archiving, and OpenStack clouds, according to Nexenta officials. In addition, the alliance in the future also will include systems with NexentaEdge for scale-out block and object services, as well as cluster-wide inline deduplication and compression. The combined solutions will give Lenovo customers more options in storage technologies and Nexenta customers another choice of servers.
"We believe Lenovo and Nexenta's partnership around joint go-to-market and service and support will transform the enterprise storage market with an innovative, collaborative, and enterprise-ready software-defined storage vision and execution," Nexenta Chairman and CEO Tarkan Maner said in a statement.